Student Ombudsman

Office of the Student Ombudsman

The University of Wollongong is committed to the early and informal resolution of academic complaints.  The Office of the Student Ombudsman provides a place for impartial and confidential review of these matters.  As a student you can expect to be treated respectfully, to be given a fair hearing and to receive equitable treatment.
 
what is the student ombudsman's role?

The role of the Student Ombudsman is to independently review undergraduate, postgraduate and higher degree research (HDR) student academic complaints that have not been resolved informally or through the formal Faculty level process. 

Who is the Student Ombudsman?

Sam Hardy

The Student Ombudsman is Associate Professor Samantha Hardy.

Sam’s background is in law, conflict management and dispute resolution, particularly in the workplace and university contexts.  She has degrees in arts, law, education and conflict resolution.  For the past eight years she has directed and taught in Masters programs in Conflict Management and Resolution, and before that she taught in law schools for eight years.  She also practised as a solicitor in Queensland for five years. 

Sam has been practising as a mediator and a conflict management coach since 1997.  She is an accredited mediator under the Australian National Mediator Accreditation Standards and is also certified as a transformative and narrative mediator in the United States.  She has also published widely in conflict resolution, including two books Dispute Resolution in Australia, 3rd Ed. (2014) co-authored with David Spencer, and Mediation for Lawyers (2010) co-authored with Olivia Rundle.  Sam’s current research is focused on conflict management in the Higher Degree Research student/supervisor relationship. 

what is an academic COMPLAINT?

An academic complaint is a complaint concerning a decision, act or omission of a member of UOW staff or committee that affects a student's academic experience. 

when CAN I appeal to the student ombudsman?

For Coursework Student Academic Review or Complaints

You must complete Stage 1A and Stage 1B of the formal Faculty complaints process.   If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the Faculty complaints process on the basis that:

  1. you do not believe the outcome of Stage 1 of the process is supported by the available evidence,
  2. due process has not been adhered to by the Faculty, or
  3. relevant new or additional information is now available that was not available at Stage 1A and 1B.

you may then appeal to the Student Ombudsman within ten (10) working days of the date you receive the outcome of your Stage 1B review by the Faculty Designate. 

For Higher Degree Research (HDR) Student Academic Complaints

You must complete Stage 1 of the formal Faculty complaints process.   If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the Faculty complaints process on the basis that::

  1. you do not believe the outcome of Stage 1 of the process is supported by the available evidence,
  2. due process has not been adhered to by the Faculty, or
  3. relevant new or additional information is now available that was not available at Stage 1

you may appeal to the Student Ombudsman within twenty (20) working days of the date you receive the outcome of your Stage 1 review by the Faculty Designate. 

The Coursework Student Academic Complaints Policy, the Higher Degree Research (HDR) Student Academic Complaints Policy and Student Academic Complaints forms can be found here  Student Complaints

what are the possible outcomes of an appeal to the student ombudsman? 

A number of outcomes are possible after all relevant documents have been examined and following interviews with the student and other relevant parties. The Student Ombudsman may determine that:

  • the matter will go no further if there are insufficient grounds for the complaint, or
  • a basis for negotiation exists between the student and relevant parties, or
  • due process has not been followed in which case a resolution involving the Faculty will be reached.

You will be notified of the Student Ombudsman's decision,  in writing, within twenty (20) working days and, where relevant, of the process for continuing your appeal.

how do i  lodge an appeal with the student ombudsman?

You can either email your completed complaint form and supporting documentation to the student-ombudsman@uow.edu.au, or you can hand deliver your documents to the Student Ombudsman's Office.

WHERE CAN I FIND THE STUDENT OMBUDSMAN?

The Student Ombudsman's Office is located in Room 19.G003 (Building 19, Ground Floor, north-east wing).  Office hours are Monday to Friday 8.30am - 4.00pm.

 

ombudsman news

Ombud's News June 2015 - What does the Student Ombudsman do?

 

Last reviewed: 1 July, 2015